Two Indian institutes have for the first time made it to the top 200 list of the world’s best universities.
The Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, has taken the top spot among its Indian counterparts, bagging the 147th rank. The only other Indian institute to make it to the top 200 is Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, ranked 179th this year. It has made great progress from last year when it was ranked 235th in the world.
According to the QS World University Rankings 2015, there are 14 Indian institutions in the World University Rankings and half of them are among the global 400. The bad news is that the University of Delhi and the University of Mumbai have lost ground.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is the world’s top university, closely followed by Harvard. The University of Cambridge is tied to Stanford University for the third place. London is the only city in the world with four universities in the top 50, more than Boston and New York (3) Paris, Sydney, Hong Kong and Beijing (2), with the London School of Economics and Political Science making the top 40 for the first time.
In an exclusive interview to TOI, Ben Sowter, QS head of research, said, “India has two institutions in the top 200 this year, which has occurred as a result of QS evolving its methodology to be more even-handed across subject areas and it has revealed strength in research in engineering, technology and the natural sciences. If you want to compare India and China, the primary shortfalls are money and consistent policy leadership.”
Thirty-four countries are represented in the top 200.
The US is the dominant nation, with 49 institutions, ahead of the UK (30), the Netherlands (12), Germany (11), Canada, Australia, and Japan (8), China (7), France, Sweden and Hong Kong (5).
Sowter adds “If, however, India and her universities are serious about competing internationally, then they have to start engaging internationally. How does it make sense for Xi’an Jiaotong University to have higher proportions of international students and faculty than IIT Delhi? The only answer is the quality and quantity of local demand. A typical international student who might want to go to an IIT probably can’t meet the entry standards – and if they can, then they’re going to MIT or Imperial,” Sowter said.
According to Sowter, India should worry less about rankings.
Sowter added “The current priorities of its HE system are domestic, the country has unique demographics that are very difficult to comprehend for many outside observers. What India should probably focus on, is having its universities focus on fostering global citizens with leadership potential, whilst maintaining its strengths in research in engineering, technology and natural sciences. In pursuing these objectives, institutions might conclude that a more diverse international mix on campus is not just a benefit for the visitors, but also for the natives, who will learn important skills and understanding, from working alongside their international peers”.
Sopwter also says that “India’s universities have clear strengths in technology and natural sciences, and with the historic emphasis on medical research now neutralized, are reflected in their rightful place in this year’s tables. On a cautionary note, however, it’s important to highlight that the trend in a number of key measures remains downward, so to retain and improve upon this year’s results, the Indian Higher Education establishment must not be complacent, and must continue to drive for greater international recognition.”
Commenting on Britain’s performance, mayor of London Boris Johnson said “London is unequivocally the education capital of the world. With four of our universities in the top 40, the city’s education sector is going from strength to strength, attracting the world’s top talent and producing the next generation of great thinkers and leaders.”
Imperial College London has dropped to eighth this year.
ETH Zurich (9th) breaks into the top 10 while the sharpest rise in the top echelon of the table is for the two leading Singaporean universities which make the top 15 for the first time ever. The National University of Singapore (12th) is the leading Asian institution while Nanyang Technological University (13th) takes a quantum leap, nearly closing the gap with its domestic rival.
A total of 71 UK institutions are among the 891 ranked this year and five of them make the global top 20.
Some of the most notable UK climbers among the top 100 include The University of Warwick (48th), which is now among the world’s top 50, Durham University (61st), University of St Andrews (68th) and the University of Southampton (81st).